Abdikadir “Abdi” Abdisalan and Abdullahi Hassan are both longtime taxi drivers who want to go into business for themselves.
Both Abdi and Abdullahi immigrated to the United States in the 1990s, after fleeing the civil war in their native Somalia. Both Abdi and Abdullahi, who are U.S. Citizens, are married with children and work six or seven days a week to support them. Abdi’s wife is currently attending nursing school, while Abdullahi’s family lives abroad while he works to bring them to San Diego.
Abdi pays $400 per week to a permit owner, and Abdullahi pays $300 per week, just to lease a permit and car. Due to the cap, neither of them has ever had a realistic opportunity of owning their own permit. In effect, they are in debt to their permit owners the minute they start working each day, and they risk losing their leases if they take even a single day off of work. If that happens, it can take months to find a new lease.